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Two Alabama prison inmates die on same day, bringing yearly total to at least 27

Eddie Burkhalter

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Two inmates in Alabama prisons died on the same day, Dec. 10, APR was able to confirm with the Alabama Department of Corrections on Thursday. 

Those deaths bring the total number of Alabama prisoners who died in 2019 as a result of murder, drug overdoses or suicides to at least 27. 

Brandon Ladd, 31, was pronounced dead by a prison physician at the Bibb Correctional Facility on Dec. 10, according to an ADOC press release. His death is under investigation, the release reads. 

In July 2011 Ladd pleaded guilty to one count each of first degree robbery, first degree burglary, first degree kidnapping and second degree assault for robbing a man at gunpoint, according to court records. He was sentenced to 23 years for those convictions. 

Asked about information APR received about a possible overdose death at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, an ADOC spokeswoman in a message Thursday afternoon wrote that Byron Tubbs, 44, was pronounced dead at the Donaldson prison infirmary on Dec. 10. 

“His death is under investigation and the cause of death is pending a full autopsy report,” ADOC spokeswoman Linda Mays wrote to APR.  

Tubbs was serving a life sentence for a 1998 conviction for murdering James Moore during a robbery, according to court records. 

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In a statement on Ladd’s death ADOC commissioner Jeff Dunn wrote that the death further emphasizes the actions taken by ADOC on Dec. 9 to establish a task force to study inmate-on-inmate violence, the assessment of additional inmate rehabilitation programs and resources and the reexamination of enhanced surveillance measures such as the possible use of body cameras by on-duty correctional officers. 

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 “These current measures will serve to strengthen our plan to remediate the longstanding challenges and expediate efforts to reduce instances of violence across the board,” Dunn’s statement reads. 

“Prison inherently is a challenging environment, and no correctional facility in the country is completely devoid of danger. However, we are committed to doing everything within our power to improve staffing levels, training, procedures, rehabilitative programs and prison infrastructure to increase safety and decrease violence for both inmates and ADOC staff,” Dunn wrote. 

On Nov. 14 Alabamians for Fair Justice addressed the violence in the state’s prisons. 

“Under Commissioner Dunn’s leadership, Alabama’s prison system is in a constitutional crisis,” the activist group claimed. “There have been at least 20 verified deaths due to homicide, suicide or overdose in the Alabama prison system in 2019. In April, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing letter outlining the Eighth Amendment violations the system faces because of the level of violence, sexual abuse, and the basic failure to ensure people in prison system are safe. According to public data, ADOC’s prisons have only 38% of the needed correctional staff and are overcrowded at 169% capacity. ADOC’s problems stem from the understaffing and overcrowding, but Commissioner Dunn’s and the State of Alabama’s only proposed solutions thus far have been to build three new mega- prisons, and keep people locked up for decades. Alabama must do better. We grieve for the lives we lost in ADOC’s care this year.”

The 27 prisoners who died by murder, overdose or suicide this year. 

In January 2019, Roderick Abrams (in St. Clair prison), John David Teague (at Staton), and Paul Ford (Kilby). 

In February, Matt Holmes (Limestone), Daniel Gentry (Donaldson) and Jamie Prim (Fountain) 

In March, Steven Mullins (St. Clair), Quinton Ashaad Few (Bibb), Rashaud Dederic Morrissette (Fountain), and Ray Anthony Little (Bibb). 

In June, Joseph Holloway (Fountain) and Jeremy Reshad Bailey (Fountain). 

In September, Christopher Hurst (Fountain), Marco Tolbert (Donaldson), William Spratling (Donaldson) and Joshua David Willingham (Ventress) 

October was an especially brutal month. Marcus Green (Bullock), Steven Davis (Donaldson), Elvin Burnseed (Donaldson), William Warren (Ventress), Ricky Gilland (Holman SEG), and Robert Green (Elmore).

In November, Dewayne Foxx (Bibb Correctional Facility) 

In December, Brandon Ladd (Bibb Correctional Facility), Byron Tubbs (Donaldson Correctional Facility), Michael Smith (Ventress Correctional Facility) and Willie Leon Scott (Holman prison)

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